September 14 and 15

Sept 14 is another day of diversity which includes setting our trap in Belamont Gardens, Umhloti, for a young monkey (about the age of the monkey Carol is holding in this pic) with an exposed skull. We need to catch him or else the exposed bone will dry out and allow germs direct access to the brain – which will be fatal! Garth and Mandy who live in Belamont Gardens are very famiiar with this injured monkey and his troop. They will attempt the trapping.

Most of the day is taken up with non-monkey related rescues for the Animal Rights Africa project, Animal Rescues Unimited (ARU), also coordinated by Steve and Carol.

Sept 15 starts with a 6.30 rescue callout to Escombe in Queensburgh. An early morning walker has literally had a small monkey drop out of a tree onto the road in front of him after the thin branch it was clinging to, broke. He calls a friend, Santi, who happens to have our ARU project number after a cat rescue we did for her about two years ago. Santi describes the monkey’s condition to me, which doesn’t sound at all good, and I ask her to go and fetch it right away and keep it wrapped warmly till I get there. From her description of the monkey, I imagine it to be one of last season’s youngsters, about ten months old.

What an unexpected surprise when I arrive at the scene. Santi has placed the wrapped monkey in a spare room so that it cannot escape if it suddenly finds a burst of energy. But this monkey is going nowhere! He is a one-day old newborn, virtually frozen stiff and instinctively still clinging tightly to the piece of dried branch that he must have clung to all night after being separated from his mother the previous day. His sparse hair was no protection against the cold and how he was still alive after the cold night is anyone’s guess.

The best I can do for him is stick him under my t-shirt and hope my body warmth will help him. He is in desperate need of warming up quickly so I also turn up the cars heater to maximum and have to drive home feeling like I am in a sauna. A quick call to Carol has her waiting at the gate with the necessary warm-up goodies – covered hot water bottle and soft baby blanket. She does the necessary mothering whilst I call Jan and James Hampton, our surrogate parents of choice when it comes to caring for the newborn babies we rescue every year, and break the news to them that their first baby for the 2008/9 season is about to be delivered to them. They have successfully cared for scores of baby monkeys over many years and fortunately we will be seeing them in a few hours at a primate rehabilitation workshop we will all be attending.

By the time we hand over the baby to Jan, he has a full tummy and is already much stronger, and by the end of the workshop, during which he has been constantly mothered and bottle-fed by Jan, he has a healthy look about him. Baby Jordan, as Jan has named him after Carol’s son, is now in very good hands and we feel confident that he will survive.

During the day we receive a call from Dianne in Northdene, Queensburgh who tells us that one of the pregnant females in “her” troop has got a snare tightly encircling her chest just below her breasts. This is a dire predicament for this monkey to be in, especially as she will soon be nursing a baby. We have to trap her as soon as possible in order to remove the snare, hopefully before she gives birth! But by the time Dianne has gone back to see if she is still there, the troop has moved on. Dianne will phone the moment she sees the snared monkey again, hopefully very soon!